September 28, 2010

War on Christmas

September always seems to go by fast. Before I really know what is going on it is October. Now it may seem early but the talk in my house has begun about Christmas. We are trying to sort out who is buying for who, where Christmas dinner will be held and who we expect to attend. Just the other day my wife arrived home with the first Christmas gift of the year, a book for my son.

Like my home talk at my church about Christmas has began. We have started to think about services, and things that need to be done pre and post Christmas. It looks like there is no escaping it, Christmas is starting early this year. 

Since the last few days have had a bit of a Christmas focus I thought I would write my 'war on Christmas' blog now instead of waiting for November or December like everyone else. I guess you could say I am trying to get in on the ground floor of this topic this season. But then again maybe I am not; I just checked Google and there is a fresh batch of 'war on Christmas' topics already. I guess it is true what they say the war on Christmas comes earlier and earlier every year.

When it comes to the 'War on Christmas' I want to say this; if there ever was a war on Christmas we lost it a long time ago. But in my opinion Christmas wasn't really the battle front. Christianity place in society was; and we have lost our prominent role in western society. I'm not trying to be all doom and gloom here but refusing to recognize this while battling with people for their unwillingness to put a manner scene at city hall or chastising a store clerk for wishing you a happy holiday isn't going to help anything.

If you really want to think in war terms, let me suggest to you it would be better to change the metaphor. We are no longer a defending army standing our ground in the face of conquering barbarians. We are rebel fighters living in occupied territory. The war for Christianities place in culture was fought and lost; now something that is called (in Christian circles at least) Post-Christianity has moved in. We are living in a post Christian world right now, today, as we 'speak'. 

As rebels we need to subvert the culture that we find ourselves in. And this means more than sticking a huge sign in your yard that reads 'Jesus is the Reason for the Season'.  It means that we need to show people that Jesus being the reason for the season matters long before and long after December 25th. 

Let me suggest some ways that we might subvert culture at Christmas. Maybe we could stop being consumers. We could stop jamming gifts under the tree and perpetuating the consumer gospel, that spending will bring peace on earth and good will to all. Instead we could use that money to buy fruit trees, wells, chickens, farm equipment and so on for third world developments. Maybe we could stop assuming that Christmas is a happy and joyful time for everyone and mourn with those people who feel their hurts and losses the deepest around Christmas. Or maybe we could celebrate with others. We could set up on a street handing out hot chocolate, and talk with people as they pass by hearing their thoughts and stories about Christmas blessing them as they go.

These are just a few basic, and hardly original ideas. To be totally honest I am not even sure how subversive they really are. But one thing I am sure of no one really wins a Christmas war. 


  1. I'm on board with handing out hot chocolate... but I'm not sure I would be willing to say, "Don't buy me anything for Christmas, just get some fruit tree's instead."

    I'm not saying that it's not a worthy cause. Those family's really need those things. But I love to celebrate Christimas and to give gifts as a special way of saying how thankful I am for each person and getting them something I really think they'll like.

    So am I not buying you gifts this year and opting to get you a couple of goats? I don't want to be confrontational, but we all love the gifts at Christmas. What's the solution?

  2. I am not saying gift giving is a bad thing. The problem is when Christmas can't be Christmas without gifts.

    Hey I have a huge Amazon wish list, I love giving and receiving gifts too. And if everyone I knew got me goats for Christmas I admittedly would be disappointed.

    And that is the problem I really really want a new video game, a few box sets, some clothes and whatever. To the point want is a need.

    What is the answer? I don't know. Some people in the early church sold everything they had gave it to the church and took a vow of poverty. Is that for everyone. Not even close.

    Could we do with less, you betcha.